Laughing at yourself proves two things: First, that you're funny. Second, that you don't take yourself so seriously that you're incapable of being the butt of a joke. It's a win-win scenario when you're trying to show a new love interest that you're worthy of a lifetime partnership -- or even just a second date.
There are girls out there who'll put up with your rock-hard abs or runway-model good looks even if you can't let others poke fun at you, but there's no doubt that by having a sense of awareness and humor about your own failings you'll make any girl more comfortable in your presence.
I don't mean that you should act like a whack job -- busting out sexually charged one-liners or awkwardly giggling like a little girl over dinner. The kind of tomfoolery I'm referring to is subtler. It's about being vulnerable, showing your gal that you're imperfect (and that you don't expect her to be 100-percent all the time), and demonstrating a good-natured resilience that suggests you're a solid partner, whether she's interested in a semester fling or a lifelong romance.
How do you pull off "fool" without crossing the line to "total dumbass?" Plan something good-natured that's totally outside your comfort zone, but listen to her for clues to her secret talents -- maybe she square-danced as a kid or was an ice-skating champ. If you choose your activity carefully, you can laugh at yourself while simultaneously giving her a forum to shine.
Don't know her well enough to cherry-pick the perfect spot? Try one of these subtle make-a-fool-of-yourself-and-laugh-about-it opportunities. The world is full of loveable fools, why shouldn't you be one of them?
Dance your ass off. It can be sexy -- or totally silly. This Saturday the Boulder Theater (2032 14th St.; $14.50; ages 21 and up; bouldertheater.com) is clearing out the chairs and bringing in one of Denver's swingin'-est salsa bands for a late night of dancing. Grooving to the super-energetic band, a rhythmic group called Quemando, is easy even if you don't know any salsa styling, but you may pick up some pointers watching some of the Front Range's best Latin dancers strutting their stuff below the stage. If you want a little guidance, get there at 8:40 p.m. for the free quickie lesson provided before the music starts at 9 p.m.
Go skating. It's innocent, fun, and full of danger. Roller-skating is such a throwback sport that it's hard not to get a chuckle out of just strapping wheels to your feet. You can amp up the amusement factor by donning something glittery, spandexy -- or both. Boulder doesn't have a rink of its own, but just 30 minutes outside of town, Skate City (200 W 121st, Westminster; skatecitycolorado.com), hosts a $6 adults-only (ages 18 and up) event on Saturday nights between 9 p.m. and midnight. If there's a good crowd, the people watching is as entertaining as (and less dangerous than) propelling yourself around the rink.
Write and sing her a ballad. Keep it short. The one-woman audience may make you more nervous than you expect, you'll probably forget the words if it's over a minute or so long -- and it's a little awkward to listen for much longer anyway. You could do your favorite verse of a classic love song -- think "Let's Get It On," not "Me and Bobby McGee."
Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.